Preventable harm is government policy | Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

There's a reason people created cartoons like this.

There’s a reason people created cartoons like this.

Government claims that welfare reforms are necessary, disregards the inevitable deaths they created, writes researcher Mo Stewart

By: Mo Stewart
Date:  Tuesday, 12 April, 2016

There have been many articles regarding the negative impact of the welfare reforms on  the unemployed and the chronically sick and disabled community (see for example, Dr David Webster). Yet, following six years of independent research, few have identified the reality behind the introduction of the welfare reforms as planned over 30 years ago.

‘Preventable harm’ is a medical term regularly identified as being the result of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), introduced in 2008 by the New Labour government to assess claimants of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) income replacement benefit, awarded to people who are unfit to work.

Since 2010 the research evidence identified the WCA as being a discredited assessment model lacking clinical credibility, and there was a failed attempt by the Cabinet Office to ‘incentivise’ this author to stop the research.  By 2012 the BMA identified the WCA as dangerous as did the RCN in 2013. The Work and Pensions Select Committee published a report in 2014 advising that the entire claims process for the ESA must be redesigned due to the anxiety created by the WCA, with Caroline Lucas MP identifying the WCA as ‘corporate manslaughter’ during debate (column 460) in the House of Commons in February 2014.

The 2012 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) mortality totals identified 10,600 deaths of ESA claimants following a WCA, between January to November 2011. New DWP mortality totals published in 2015 acknowledged a total of 2,380 people who had died between December 2011 and February 2014, having been identified as ‘fit for work’, with the total number of deaths following a WCA identified as 81,140.  This makes the total number of deaths linked to the WCA as rapidly approaching 100,000 people since January 2011, with many others not admitted as claimants migrated from  the ESA to unemployment benefit, who subsequently die from ill health, now no longer collated by the DWP.

Research evidence by this author, and by many others, was provided for the United Nations (UN) as BBC News announced an official UN investigation of the British government for possible breaches of the Human Rights of Britain’s disabled people. The UN report will be published this year.

Any suggestion of crimes against humanity by a British government evokes a defensive reaction by some academics, who seem very reluctant to accept that government policy is demonstrated to be causing preventable harm to those least able to protest. Crimes against humanity are defined by the International Criminal Court as including ‘part of government policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government authority.’

This is the very definition of the fear, despair and listed human tragedies that have caused starvation to be added to the list of suffering by this nation’s chronically sick and disabled population, whose only crime is that they are unfit to work.


For the past six years Mo Stewart has conducted independent research exposing the human consequences of the introduction of the WCA, with evidence from the research informing welfare reform debates in the House of Lords and the House of Commons since 2011. The research is endorsed by academics, national charities and DPOs and is available via ResearchGate. Mo Stewart is a retired healthcare professional.

– See more at: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/preventable-harm-government-policy#sthash.wQUCEW9A.dpuf

Source: Preventable harm is government policy | Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

4 thoughts on “Preventable harm is government policy | Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

  1. Rik

    I hope the UN investigations on this cruel, sick Govt comes to a conclusion soon…
    Thank You

  2. LauraNWay87

    Hi Mike,

    I hope you don’t mind but I shared a link to this on Facebook, along with directly copying the paragraph with the number of deaths. I hope this is ok, but will delete the post if not. The remainder of my comment read as follows:

    Though it can be argued that some of those deaths relate to people who were terminally ill and would have passed away regardless. But there are many cases where it is known people have either died after a worsening of their health hastened by the stress caused by the DWP and the State, or people have commited suicide due to that stress. Having said that, the DWP and the State should have a duty of care towards its citizens, civil servants have a code of conduct to abide by, and anyone within the health profession – including those employed by the likes of Maximus – should also have a duty of care towards its patients (though from memory I think we’re referred to as ‘customers’). There is never an acceptable reason or excuse for that duty not being met!

    Please read this article, and in particular that paragraph (several times ideally), and let those numbers sink in. Do you think this is ok? Even one death – yet alone the amount suggested here – caused by the State – particularly intentionally as building evidence suggest – is not acceptable. Ever!

    I kind of ran out of steam at the end there due to a combination of fibro fog and rising anger.

    I also want to say thank you for all you do in raising awareness of what this government is doing, along with the tenacity to you demonstrated in taking on the DWP. I’m a not-quite-30-year-old who became ill with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 5 years ago, and lost my job due to my health 3 years ago. I rely on ESA and PIP to get by and am constantly aware of the monster that is the DWP lurking on the sidelines of my life and that my source of income is far from safe and can be taken from me at a moment’s notice all for, as is said, the crime of being unfit for work. Poeple like me are so grateful for people like you giving us a voice and fighting our corner.

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